Martin Luther King Day - New York
- March 11: Celtics Sign Babb to Second 10-day Contract
- March 10: That's What He Said - Pistons at Celtics
- March 08: Stevens Excited To Enjoy Madness as a Fan
- March 08: Bradley Could Return as Early as Friday
- March 08: That's What He Said - Nets at Celtics
- March 07: Vitor Faverani Medical Update
- March 06: National Anthem Open Call Auditions
- March 06: Celts Lose, but Olynyk Continues To Evolve
- March 06: That's What He Said - Warriors at Celtics
- March 04: Post-ACL Rondo is Shooting the Lights Out
- March 04: C's Lose Wallace; Olynyk, Bradley Improve
- March 04: Gerald Wallace Injury Update
- March 03: Winter Warmth: Green Heats up in February
- March 02: That's What He Said - Pacers at Celtics
- February 28: Celtics Slammed With Laundry List of Injuries
- February 28: Celtics Sign Babb to 10-Day Contract
- February 27: Perfect Pair? Bayless, Rondo Excel Together
- February 27: That's What He Said - Hawks at Celtics
- February 25: That's What He Said - Celtics at Jazz
- February 23: That's What He Said - Celtics at Kings
- February 22: That's What He Said - Celtics at Lakers
- February 20: Quiet Deadline is Nothing New for Ainge
- February 15: C's Rising Stars Surprise in Starting Role
- February 14: Rising Stars Glad to be Teammates in NOLA
- February 13: Sullinger, Olynyk: Rising Stars to All-Stars?
- February 13: That's What He Said - Spurs at Celtics
- February 11: That's What He Said - Celtics at Bucks
- February 10: Jared Sullinger Named Player of the Week
- February 09: That's What He Said - Mavericks at Celtics
- February 08: Rondo, Bradley Remain Questionable for C's
- February 08: Sullinger Outshines Cousins, Leads C's to W
- February 08: That's What He Said - Kings at Celtics
- February 07: Celtics Sign Johnson
- February 06: Ainge, Stevens Discuss Rondo's Progression
- February 06: That's What He Said - Celtics at 76ers
- February 05: Celtics Recall Faverani from Red Claws
- February 04: Boston Seeks Payback versus Sixers in Philly
- February 04: Celtics Assign Faverani to Maine Red Claws
- February 04: Celts Faced with Tough Decision on Johnson
- February 03: Green, Bradley Find True Positions in Boston
- February 02: That's What He Said - Magic at Celtics
- February 02: Celtics Recall Faverani from Red Claws
- February 01: Stevens Pleased with Back-to-Back Practices
- January 31: Rondo, C's Eye February as Critical Month
- January 31: Celtics Assign Faverani, Blue to Red Claws
- January 30: Celtics Expect Bradley To Return for Sunday
- January 30: That's What He Said - 76ers at Celtics
- January 29: Sullinger, Olynyk Chosen as Rising Stars
- January 29: Rondo To Celtics: Enact Short-Term Memory
- January 29: That's What He Said - Celtics at Knicks
- January 28: Bayless To Return After Missing Four Games
- January 28: Celtics Sign Johnson to Second 10-Day Contract
- January 27: Pierce, KG: Nothing Compares to Sunday
- January 27: That's What He Said - Nets at Celtics
- January 26: Celtics Recall Faverani from Red Claws
- January 25: Prep for Emotional Night when C's Host Nets
- January 25: Celtics Assign Faverani to Maine Red Claws
- January 25: That's What He Said - Thunder at Celtics
- January 23: Survival Mode: C's Drop Wiz Amid Adversity
- January 22: Celtics Sign Blue to 10-Day Contract
(12 hours before tip)
Let me start with this.
It's true...I'm not, you know, real good with the early starts.
We're all different, of course. There are morning people, and afternoon people and night people. And whether it's genetic, or behavioral, or whatever, someone made me the latter. In fact, come to think of it, I'm not completely sure I didn't choose this particular line of work because of the hours. Where going to bed at 4 a.m. is run-of-the-mill and 7 a.m. wakeup calls are the start of a day of mainlining Red Bull.
And I suppose this day and age has become more hour-generic. The latest Britney Spears visit with the paparazzi is just as available at 5 a.m. as it is at 5 p.m. And Tom Cruise acting like Martian can be yours on YouTube 24 hours a day. It's a wonderful world.
Now Max loves these games, the ones like today's 1 p.m. start in New York. Mostly, because he knows I'm at my weakest earlier in the day and his normally ineffective, couldn't-break-an-egg verbal jabs tend to hit their target with greater regularity while the sun is still up.
And for the sake of today's discussion, I'll put aside the dichotomy of the treatment us night people get. That if you go to bed at 11 o'clock, and get up at six the next morning, you're considered a go-getter and a coffee achiever, not to mention the whole healthy, wealthy and wise thing. But if you go to bed at 4 in the morning, and don't get up 'til 10:30, you're lazy, and a blemish on society, undoubtedly destined to work alongside Danny Noonan in the lumberyard.
Perhaps, my nocturnal brothers and sisters, we'll revisit that.
But here's the truth, every day is an honor to be in the NBA.
It really is.
But none more than today.
A year ago, the Celtics were in Atlanta on this day, seventy-eight years after Martin Luther King was born there. It was pretty cool.
His name invokes different images to different people across the country and across the world. Across every line that he tried so successfully to blur. Generational, cultural and racial.
Of course, it's unlikely that of all his visions, one was ever a national day to honor his memory, a day which the NBA has adopted as its own. A national holiday around the league of matinees and celebrations to shine the spotlight the league has earned back on a man whose ideas outdistanced his life.
And that's an honor the NBA has earned, as a league where diversity isn't a distant concept, it's the reality.
Now to say Dr. King's dream was far bigger than the game, and the sport, and the league of which we're all a part of today, well, that would be one of the great understatements of the young millennium. But to say there's no correlation, no connection between the two? That's just not looking hard enough.
Dr. King's dream was that one day blacks and whites would play together. His dream was that a man would one day be judged by the content of his character, or his jump shot, or the things he brought to his world, not by the color of his skin. And his gift was delivering that most basic human message in a way that changed the world.
The lessons of this day are all around us, even now. Even here, today, at Madison Square Garden.
Six months ago, a national sports media figure tried to play what we've all been trained to call the "race card," in reference to Kevin Garnett's hesitation to be dealt to Boston. It was a reminder that there will always be people whose minds don't change with the times. A reminder that there will always be people that hang on to old perceptions and stereotypes and ideologies. Unable to see things in present day real-time.
Drinking from what Dr. King called "the cup of bitterness and hatred."
But as KG takes the floor at MSG this afternoon, wearing the green number five jersey, the same jersey you can't walk ten feet in Boston without seeing, it seems worthy of remembering that this is a love affair born of his passion for the game, the true content of his character. What could be more pure?
Boston's history is just that, its history. Major League Baseball celebrated the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut last year, rather than mourning the sixty years that came before it. We have to learn from history, not re-live it. Fight the injustices that remain in our time, and neither harp on those that came before us or rest on the laurels of our progress.
In many ways, professional sports, and the NBA, can be life in a bubble. High salaries, private planes and a world that exists largely behind velvet ropes. And with the NBA's record of race-relations and community activism, we could take this day to pat ourselves on the back in a self-aggrandizing curtain call. But that's the easy way. And the easy way and the right way almost never seem to be one and the same.
We can't and we won't bury our heads, and pretend the journey that Dr. King lived for -- the journey he died for -- is anywhere close to the finish line. Not in a world where the Jena 6 stand trial, and in a week in which the cover of Golfweek magazine is a noose. We can't live in that bubble.
But we can keep setting the pace, and we can keep setting an example, by being a place where humanity is celebrated, not degraded. A place where those who succeed are those who sacrifice for the greater good.
So on this day of celebration, why not take a moment to both appreciate and be proud of our place, of sports' place, of the NBA's place in the world. Proudest especially when it leads society in race relations, rather than follows it.
It may not be the mountain top, but the view is pretty damn good.
Even first thing in the morning.